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States' tax collections hit record high

Published April 11, 2013 2:52 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

States collected the highest amount of taxes ever in 2012 — breaking a record set just before the recession hit. And Utah's tax revenue grew faster than most states, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau.

States received a total of $794.6 billion in taxes in 2012, breaking the previous record of $779.7 billion in 2008, according to the 2012 Annual Survey of State Government Tax Collections released this week.

"The latest data show that state tax revenue is continuing to recover, albeit slowly, from the depth of the recession," said Donald Boyd, senior fellow at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government at the State University of New York in Albany. People pay more income tax as they earn more, and more sales tax as they buy more.

While state taxes increased by an average of 4.5 percent nationally in 2012, they rose 6.1 percent in Utah — jumping from $5.48 billion to $5.81 billion.

The study said 47 states saw increases in tax revenues, led by North Dakota at 47 percent and Alaska at 27.3 percent. The increases in both of those states came mainly from jumps in revenue from severance taxes on oil and gas.

In Utah, the report said state income tax revenues rose 7 percent, and general sales tax revenues were up 4.4 percent. Severance tax revenue on oil and gas were up by 5.6 percent, and revenue from an assortment of state licensing was up by 15.6 percent.

Other Utah tax figures showed a 29.3 percent jump in revenue from motor vehicle registrations and licensing, an 8 percent bump in revenue from alcoholic beverage sales and a decrease of 0.3 percent in cigarette tax collections.